According to a new study it is found that world’s ocean could have an influence on clouds.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego looked at the process in which marine bacteria consume phytoplankton and they found that it can have an effect on cloud properties.
When the phytoplankton’s decay, it produces molecules which are either consumed by bacteria or released in atmosphere. When these molecules are released in atmosphere they join with dust and other small particles such as aerosols, creating the drops of moisture that form clouds.
Kimberly Prather, distinguished chair in atmospheric chemistry with appointments at Scripps and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego said, “It is exciting to finally be able to find a connection between microbes in seawater and atmospheric sea spray. These chemical changes ultimately affect the reflectivity of marine clouds and thus could have profound impacts on climate over a large portion of the planet.”
The findings were based on the study Marine PArticle Chemistry and Transfer Science (IMPACTS) funded by the National Science Foundation.
They found that when the phytoplanktons are broken down by bacteria, it releases a number of insoluble fats like compounds that get aerosolized when waves break.
During the study, researchers have analyzed the sea spray in a controlled ocean atmosphere environment and found which compounds are transferred to the atmosphere.
They found variations in the microbes in each bloom influenced the concentration of less water soluble molecules in the waves. When the bubbles in the waves burst, the molecules were hurdled into the atmosphere.
The study shows the complex interactions between ocean microbes influencing the ability of sea spray aerosols to form clouds.
The study helps in creating more accurate climate models in future.
The findings of the study are published in journal ACS Central Science.